Shadow smirked as he appeared in front of the great shrine beholden to the master emerald. The hedgehog just returned from another lengthy mission and had only one thing on his mind now that he had the free time to spare. The ebony one with streaks wasn’t about to waste a single grain of the precious time he had on his hands, and that’s why he arrived on Angel island. A breath was taken deep to savor the fresh clean and breezy air as he began his ascent to the altar floor where he’d find his reason for coming here. It was partly the island, but much more for the protector of it.
No one ever paid much attention every time team Sonic hooked up with Shadow, but the dark hedgehog had a certain way of looking at the red guardian. Knuckles eventually knew the look was one of hunger the ultimate life form had for him. That was the day Shadow couldn’t stand it anymore and pulled the echidna aside.
One day Knuckles was startled when he was yanked away from Sonic and Tails who were busy talking amongst themselves after the four of them took down yet another one of Eggman’s giant robots. The mechanical monstrosity was still exploding and Sonic was lamenting to Tails about not having popcorn for the show. Neither of them saw Shadow and Knuckles disappear into an alley where the powerhouse of their team was pinned back against the wall by the alien hybrid hedgehog.
“Shadow what the hell are you doing!” Knuckles Raised his fist in a manner ready to strike. But Shadow was a good guy, he was on his side right? In his mind the echidna knew there was a chance all that was a farce to get close enough to attack. Knuckles didn’t want to believe the worst case scenario for Shadow though. It would actually hurt if Shadow turned out to betray his trust. The agent had helped him and his friends way too many times for him to stab that knife in his back.
“You’re hesitating to hit me” The hedgehog smoothly replied with a smirk and in his calm velvety voice. “That’s a good sign” He mused aloud, unable to stop himself from toying with the echidna a bit.
“What do you mean by that?” Knuckles raised a brow and slowly let his fist lower as a state of confusion took him over. A hand of the hedgehog fell on his shoulder and he suddenly became aware of just how close the taller mobian. Not only that, but how oddly soft his touch felt. The combination of that touch and smooth voice caused Knuckles to shiver. “Shadow, answer me this instant!” He tried to hide his nervousness with a stern voice and raised his fist back up.
“I have to leave” Shadow finally told him just before he knew the echidna was really about to hit him. It wasn’t those words, but his frown that made the spiked fist slowly back down again. “I don’t know for how long”
Shadow sounded serious, serious enough to disarm the guardian who now looked at him puzzled, yet also chilled by those piercing crimson eyes. Why was Shadow even leaning this close? It must be so he could be heard over the explosions still popping off in the background, Knuckles naively reasoned. However, there was a more prominent curiosity he had to verbalize. “Why are you telling me this, and not the others too?” He asked, wanting to slink back on account of his issues with personal space.
Shadow sensed the unease and backed up, at least a little bit to show respect. “It doesn’t matter to them if they don’t see me for a while and it doesn’t matter to me if I don’t see them for a while either” He answered Knuckles, sighing and some of his trademark confidence ebbing away. “But it matters to me if I don’t see you for a while”
Knuckles was taken aback and it showed on his face as his head tilted in further confusion. He didn’t know what Shadow was getting at. They hung out a few times and he did welcome the hedgehog on his island, but Knuckles assumed he just liked the peace and tranquility it offered. He didn’t think in his wildest dreams Shadow actually cared for being around him. “Uh… I’m not sure I understand”
Shadow sighed. He had to get going soon so it was make his move now or possibly never make it at all. The hedgehog just didn’t want to take those chances, so he took the guardian’s hand in his. “You and I understand each other, even though we may not speak much. But I’ve always enjoyed my time around you and I’ve always admired you for what you do, and how noble you are without being pompous like Sonic.” Shadow then was sure to add what he was thinking, a thought he often had about Knuckles and never shared until now. “I also think you’re cute when you’re angry”
Knuckles suddenly blushed deeply and looked up at the hedgehog with even more confusion washing over him. Did Shadow just say he was cute? It was so unexpected that he was struggling to process it and come back with some kind of response. The only thing he could do was look at the other with his mouth slightly agape. He was so stunned he barely noticed he was moving closer to the hedgehog until he was pressed close against him, the other’s fluffy white chest fur tickling his chin before Shadow tilted his head up and moved his face in closer to the crimson brawler. The echidna felt funny in his stomach and his heart rate increased as he realized what Shadow was about to do.
The loner guardian had never kissed anyone or been kissed by anyone before so he didn’t know what to do in this situation. He never even really thought about having a relationship but had always assumed one day things might just click naturally with a special female. Instinct told him what was about to happen was wrong and he quickly put his hands on Shadow’s shoulders. His intent was to throw him off, however something kept him from doing that and he merely only held the hedgehog at bay with a weak force.
Shadow felt the pressure of the guardian’s hands pushing on him, but they were pushing so weakly that he knew Knuckles was at least curious. Surely if he wasn’t, he’d have started pummeling his fists into him by now. With that musing in mind the darker one pushed through those weak defenses to boldly claim the lips he sought after for so many months. He felt Knuckles flinch and sort of shrink back away from the contact, their muzzles only grazing for a split second. But the red one wasn’t really resisting like he could have been. The striped mobian hybrid knew If he was truly upset at his actions he would be catching a spiked fist to his face by now. Yet it wasn’t the case and that was quite encouraging.
Knuckles’s face burned up in a heated blush “Sh-Shadow” Was all he mustered to say as he tightened his grip on the other male’s shoulders, but still failed to stop him from finally closing the gap, his body trembling when the hedgehog’s lips pressed against his. From this point Shadow found it easier to take the lead, gently pushing Knuckles back against the wall and allowing a purr to rumble as he planted his soft kiss on the guardian. There was temptation in trying to go further and slipping his tongue past those surprisingly soft lips, but the ebony one didn’t want to push things too far so soon. He simply wanted to make Knuckles aware of his feelings for him and by now he figured he must have gotten the point, and so he pulled away with a quiet smack from his puckered lips leaving the guardian’s still ones.
“Shadow…” Knuckles spoke after a moment of forcing himself to comprehend what just happened. “Did you really just… kiss me?” He asked feeling like he was in some kind of a stupor or a dream, his heart still racing and now feeling light headed like he’d never felt before.
“I did” Shadow replied to the reeling and dizzy echidna as he still held him about the waist, looking into his amethyst jewels. The hedgehog was going to say something else as he felt the tenseness wear off of the guardian. Was he okay with what he did and starting to relax? Unfortunately not, as Shadow was quickly alarmed to find the echidna collapsing like dead weight against him. “Knuckles?!” The agent almost panicked but stuck two fingers up under the crimson male’s chin to find his pulse. His heart was rapidly beating, yet appeared to be calming down after he’d lost consciousness. “He fainted…” Shadow spoke aloud to himself as if to confirm it. It was probably a good thing indeed that he hadn’t attempted to make that any more intense. “Damn. Maybe there was a better way to do this” He sighed and lifted the slightly shorter male into his arms so that he was draped across them with his legs dangling. He yelled his chaos control to vanish in a bright green flash of light.
Soon the explosions from the robot stopped and the mangled thing was only smoking in front of Sonic and Tails. The blue hedgehog cheered and clapped his hands like he was at a firework event of some kind. “Whooo! Oh yeah now that’s a grand finale to a good giant robo butt kicking. Good work, Tails!” He slapped his little fox bro on the back, making him lurch forward a bit and chortle under his breth. “Thanks for your help, Knux, Shad- oh?” The speedster turned to where he saw the two standing a minute ago, a deadpan expression coming over his face. “Of course, the two silent loners leave without saying a word. How typically rude” He sighed to his buddy who wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“Well you know Knuckles. He hates to be away from the emerald, even if he can put it in the hidden palace to come lend us a hand. And Shadow did say he had limited time to stay” The two tailed fox said, shrugging to Sonic. His older friend should be used to it by now, the fourteen year old thought.
“Yeah well, wouldn’t’ve hurt them to say goodbye at the very least” The azure mobian replied, annoyed at the fact. But he supposed it couldn’t be helped and wasn’t going to let it rain on his parade. He never let anything rain on his parade, he could shrug off anything. “Whatever. Let’s go get some chili dogs to celebrate kicking this thing’s giant metal boo-tay!”
Meanwhile a green flash occurred atop of the emerald shrine altar and Shadow appeared with the unconscious Guardian. The hedgehog looked at him in his arms, noting he looked rather peaceful and in his mind, quite appropriate being held like his bride. But he was concerned for him too, and kicking himself for obviously overwhelming the echidna. He thought he should have known better to kiss someone who was so guarded and as much an isolationist as Knuckles was. The poor creature wasn’t even used to carrying on a conversation, he wasn’t mentally equipped to deal with an ally just up and kissing him, even if it was a restrained three second little peck on the lips.
Still looking at him he decided it probably wasn’t best to wake him up and carried him over to the cot he had set up behind where the emerald usually was. The last thing he wanted was to have Knuckles wake up and thrown right back into an awkward setting. That in mind, he laid the guardian down softly and tucked his pillow under his head, and then made a call on his wrist phone.
“Rouge, I need you to come to Angel Island ASAP. Knuckles is unconscious and I don’t have time to watch him” The hedgehog spoke upon hearing the bat’s voice on the other end say her greeting.
Rouge blinked and turned away from her computer monitor where she was mapping out her next target. “Knuckles is unconscious?” She asked sincerely concerned, because she knew that was no easy feat and she also knew he was involved in a giant robot battle. “What happened? Why didn’t you take him to a hospital? He must be badly hurt if that robot managed to knock him out!”
“No… no he’s not hurt.” Shadow sighed. “You were right, I shouldn’t have kissed him” He winced at the resulting gasp from Rouge.
“Shadow you didn’t!” The bat was on the edge of her seat now, a hand over her mouth in shock at hearing Shadow say that. She remembered the conversation she had with the hedgehog about his crush on the red hothead. It took her a second to regain her composure and throw out a witty remark. “Oh but he didn’t knock your head off, so I guess I was wrong about that” She giggled. “And he fainted? You must have shoved your tongue down his throat or something.”
Shadow rolled his eyes and sighed, now getting annoyed at his partner’s antics. “It was a small peck on the lips. But that’s besides the point, Rouge. I don’t have the time to spare anymore and I have to get going, so get over here and watch the Guardian. Don’t worry about the emerald, he’s stored it in the hidden palace.” He told her hastily to cut any of her games short.
“Aw geeze, I have to watch the dunderhead and the emerald isn’t even on display?” Rouge put on a whine and then sighed. “Oh alright fine., but you’ll owe me. I’ll be on my way as soon as I save my program. Good luck on your super special secret mission” She teased.
A begrudged tone answered back. “Thank you. I’ll contact you if I need anything or if something happens” Shadow said his goodbye to Rouge and looked down at Knuckles one more time. He couldn’t help but lightly stroke one of his locks once before sighing and walking towards the steps. The hedgehog wanted to be far enough away not to disturb the echidna with his yell of chaos control.